REVIEWS EXCERPT
 

BELIZE is the saga of a Central American father and his two sons — one American and one Belizean — who struggle against a forbidding land, and often with each other.  The story opens in 1961 on the eve of Hurricane Hatti, then transports the reader across forty years, from the unrest of colonial British Honduras to turbulence of present day Belize.

Ramon Kelley is the ambitious manager of the last company to log mahogany from the Belizean rain forest.  He contends with an unscrupulous American employer, as well as with environmentalist pressure to abandon what historically has been Belize’s primary industry.

Ray Kelley is the American son, who reluctantly comes to Belize after high school graduation.  Clive Lightburn is the unacknowledged Creole son, who grows up in a village near the Guatemalan border.  Clive’s involvement in the theft of artifacts from a Mayan pyramid prompts him to flee to Belize City.  There his path will cross of a white man and his son:  Ramon and Ray Kelley.

 

PURCHASE:  $15
(Kindle $7.50)

www.amazon.com                                 

Paperback
402 Pages
ISBN-10:
1419685104
EAN-13:  9781419685101
 

REVIEWS:

Mr. Miller’s writing style is easy and flowing just like his story line and character development.  He led me from character to character and from one section of the country to another, never letting my imagination rest.  A Belizean proverb is recounted: ‘If you drink our water, you will always return.’  Although I have never been to Belize, I can’t wait to go back!

  • Bay Runner Magazine reviewer Scott Wacheler

Have you ever wished you could share with family or friends what Belize is like?  The opportunity now exists in Carlos Ledson Miller’s Belize – A Novel.  The story opens at the Pickwick Club on the eve of Hurricane Hattie.  From the second page I was captivated by this novel and spent every spare moment devouring it.  For those wanting to experience or re-experience Belize, this is an excellent opportunity.

  • SCN online,reviewer Sister Rosemarie Kirwan

One of my favorite publications on Belize.

  • Belize Director of Tourism, Tracey Taegar

Wow!  Excellent plot — captures flavor of Belize and Belizeans.

  • Belize Film Commissioner and author, Emory King

I was born and raised in Belize City and after living in the USA for almost twenty years I thoroughly enjoyed a trip down memory lane while turning the pages of Belize, a novel. This work gives a good description of Belizean culture, politics (colonial times and after independence), history, geography and commerce of our unique Caribbean / Central American country.

  • Amazon book buyer

I was happy to get my hands on a copy of Carlos Miller's book "Belize".  I read it from cover to cover in one sitting!!  The story is authentic, the characters realistic, and I really felt that I was living back in that time.  His descriptions of the people, the city, the politics, were vivid and colorful.  It even brought back the smell of the old, open sewers to memory!  Scenes of the old market, the creole language, the German SS-turned-bush pilot, the names of the boats — these all dig up old memories of my childhood.

  • Amazon book buyer

I recommended this book to a close friend who is a lecturer at the University of Belize, and she loved it!  Recently, I had the pleasure of reading Carlos's other book as well— Panama!  It is equally as good!

  • Amazon book buyer

I have travelled to Belize a dozen times and am building a small factory there, so anything that relates to Belize is of interest to me.  Carlos has put together a scenario that is very easy for me to imagine as true. I have met many people in Belize that could have easily come from the pages of this book.  I read it front to back without stopping. It was too hard to put down.  While fictitious, it certainly reflects the reality of Belize, the country!

  • Amazon book buyer

Belize has been a part of my life since 1981, since Chaa Creek was a hut, since Rosita Arvigo was chopping bush with Panti, since Pine Ridge was a live firing range.  I am so glad that Carlos Miller wrote this book.  I re-lived so many times and places while reading it.  He is very accurate about its history, which is quite an accomplishment given the chameleon nature of the place.  The Belizean people are larger than life.  Everyday is a surprise.  Everyday is lived fully.  I invite you to live in this book for awhile, you will love his characters.  Please write a sequel!

  • Amazon book buyer

My wife and I are both Belizeans living in the States.  She read Belize first and she kept me up late nights all the while exuberantly involving me by reading to me passages that excited her.  I thought she was over-reacting till I picked it up.  Then I was doing the same thing and I was pulling on everyone's ear to share my excitement.  Carlos Miller captures the reader from the very first page and lets the reader live along with his characters.  The Belizean backdrop and events is only a bonus for Belizean readers.  The story grabs at your emotions - I laughed out loud many times; I became angry; I got sad; and, I was on edge a few times too.  Miller does a fantastic job creating a feel for the multi-cultural climate and interaction in Belizean society.  And the resolve is positive.  I believe "Belize" is a must read for all Belizeans and just about anybody that enjoys a good book.

  • Amazon book buyer

I'm a Belizean living in the U.S. for almost 25 years.  As soon as I started reading the first page I was transported back in time.  I followed Ramon down every street in Belize City - his description of places, things and Belizean life are accurate.  Already I know that I will re-read Belize, just in case I missed something in my eagerness.  I've told my friends and family about this book.  Thank you, Carlos Ledson Miller.

  • Amazon book buyer
 

EXCERPT:

PART I:

THE COLONY

 

Man di walk; death di watch.

—Belizean Proverb

 

1. STORM WARNINGS

 

October 29, 1961

Ramón and Kay Kelley waited in the Pickwick Club, along with most of the other white residents of Belize City. Ramón checked his watch; it was almost eleven. Usually on a weeknight, most club members would already have left for home. Tonight, however, word had spread that a hurricane was forming in the Caribbean, and the venerable clubhouse was still full and buzzed with uncertainty.

Ramón slumped in his chair, making no effort to mask his fatigue. He had spent the past week at his jungle logging camp. Dried sweat lined his khaki shirt and trousers, and mud from the interior clung to his boots. As he looked at his alert young wife, it occurred to him that, at forty, life in the Tropics might finally be catching up with him.

Ramón shifted his gaze across the room. At the bar, a dozen or so community leaders huddled around a Mestizo bartender. The local radio station was off the air, and the swarthy youth was trying to tune to a broadcast coming from somewhere in Mexico’s Quintana Roo Province.

“Ramón,” Kay said, “you look awful. Should we go?”

He shook his head. “I need to find out what’s going on.”

Their exchange was interrupted by Sir Peter Stallard, the graying Briton who served as the colonial governor of British Honduras. He stood near the bar, arms raised. “Ladies and gentlemen . . . could we have quiet, please?”

The conversations died down, and the excited voice of a Mexican announcer rose over a background of electrical static. Most of the people in the room couldn’t speak Spanish and looked around for someone to translate for them. A khaki-uniformed British colonel, standing near a snooker table, shouted, “What’s he saying, Adolfo?”

“He says bad storm coming this way, sah!” the bartender said.

“A hurricane?” demanded a stocky German, pushing his way toward the bar.

“He don’t say, sah. But it sound like one to me!”

A murmur of concern passed through the room. “Please, ladies and gentlemen . . .” called the governor, again raising his arms for quiet.

The room hushed. “Where is it, Adolfo?” the governor said. “Did he say where it’s located?”

“Out with it, man!” the British colonel said impatiently. “Give us the bloody facts!”

“He says storm has been moving north toward Cuba, sah,” the bartender said, “but now it changing direction.” He paused, again listening to the radio transmission. “Say storm 250 miles from Chetumal . . . winds blowing seventy-five miles per hour . . . storm moving fifteen miles per hour . . . coming southwest, sah!”

The room exploded, as the club members all began talking at once.

Ramón, who spoke Spanish and had not needed the translation, pulled his wife’s chair close to his and said into her ear, “Kay, if a hurricane hits here, I could lose everything I’ve got. I need to get hold of my office manager right away. You’ll have to wait here for me while I track him down.”

“Wait here?” Kay said anxiously. “You’re not leaving me with a hurricane coming!”

“I won’t be gone long,” Ramón said, heaving himself out of his chair. “I’d take you with me, but God knows where I’ll have to look for Michael at this time of night.”

Kay remained seated, looking helpless and out of place.

Ramón extended his hand. “Come on, Kay. You can wait over there with Karl Schrader.” She reluctantly got to her feet, and he guided her over to the bar. “Karl,” he said to the German bush pilot, “I need to go find Michael Flowers. Will you look after Kay until I get back?”

“I can’t stay too late tonight,” Schrader said, warily eyeing the frail American woman. “I have to be up at first light to move my airplanes inland.”

“I’ll be back within an hour,” Ramón said. Schrader nodded, and Ramón quickly threaded his way through the crowded room and down the exterior stairway that led to the street below.

At the foot of the stairs, he opened the white wooden gate and stepped onto Front Street. He paused, testing the humid Caribbean night air. It felt like rain was on the way. He grunted as he swung his tall heavy frame into his battered Land Rover.

Although the shops were closed, the narrow street was congested with people, out for nightly promenades. Ramón pulled away from the Pickwick Club and cautiously weaved through the stream of dark faces, occasionally tapping his horn. The indolent response of the bicyclists and pedestrians brought to mind the frustration of the past week. Of the ten workers he had trucked out to the logging camp, three had quit the first day, and five more had failed to last the week. He shook his head. Damn these churches and their schools! Everybody wants to be a clerk.

Ramón turned onto Queen Street. He was well-known in this ramshackle city of 30,000, and several people called to him as he drove by. He gave quick waves in the general directions of the voices, but kept his eyes straight ahead and both hands on the steering wheel, as he navigated the twisting littered streets.

A few minutes later, he had left the city behind and was heading north on Barracks Road, which ran along the edge of the sea. On the horizon, he saw the occasional flicker of far-off lightning. Fatigue made it difficult to think, but he forced himself to begin making a mental list of things he needed to do before the storm. He hit a pothole in the rough road and cursed as his head struck the metal roof.

He rounded a bend in front of the city’s dilapidated soccer stadium and saw the lights of the Belize Club up ahead. The Belize Club was the gathering place for the nonwhite community leaders. Although it was late, two players still occupied a lighted tennis court.

He turned into the muddy driveway and pulled up in front of the two-story wooden building. Through the open windows above, he heard the sounds of voices and calypso music, punctuated by occasional bursts of laughter. News of the approaching storm apparently had not yet reached the Belize Club.

Ramón climbed out of the Land Rover and took the exterior stairs two at a time.

Mistah Kelley, sah!” cried the bartender as he entered the club room. “We don’t see you for such a long time!”

Most of the people in the room turned in his direction. Ramón forced a smile and nodded to several men and women he recognized. He knew he was welcome here. Although he was a white American by nationality, he was a Central American by birth, and a Belizean by choice.

He didn’t see his office manager, but at the bar he spotted his old friend, Elijah Ruiz, president of the Bank of the Caribbean and a leader in the People’s United Party. The black Carib stood out among the various shades of brown.

Elijah motioned for Ramón to join him and met him with a friendly handshake. “You look very serious, my friend,” Elijah said with a resonant chuckle. “Let me buy you something to drink.”

Ramón shook his head. “Have you heard about the storm?”

“No,” Elijah said, his smile fading, “but the air does feel like we might be in for a squall.”

“It could be a hell of a lot worse than that. Over at the Pickwick, we picked up a Mexican radio station. It said a storm out in the Caribbean is gaining intensity and is heading this way. It’s supposed to be about 250 miles offshore, but as bad as Mexican communications are, it might be closer. They’re guessing landfall sometime tomorrow on the Yucatan Peninsula, but it could hit here.”

“Damn! Did they say how powerful?”

“Supposedly, the winds are only about seventy-five miles an hour. But it wouldn’t take much more than that to level this place.”

“You don’t have to remind me,” Elijah said softly. “I was a young bwy here when the big one came in 1931.” Then he added with a sigh, “Yet here we are, thirty years later, still sitting on the God-damned coast, waiting for a next one.”

“I need to get hold of Michael Flowers so we can start preparing for the storm. Have you seen him?”

“He left about an hour ago,” Elijah said, “probably headed for the Blue Angel.” Then he frowned thoughtfully. “Is the governor at the Pickwick?”

“He was there when I left, but he probably won’t be for long.”

Ramón sensed that Elijah was assessing both his business and political responsibilities. The storm might provide opportunities for an ambitious man.

Elijah extended his hand. “All right, my friend. I’ll be at the bank first thing in the morning. Hail me when you can.”

As Ramón started down the outside stairway, he heard the music abruptly stop and Elijah’s resonate voice boom out, “May I have your attention, please . . .”